In the new issue of Guitar World, Tom Morello is asked to pick his favorite Nuno Bettencourt solo, and selects an early career obscurity, performed before the band were even signed.
The Rage Against The Machine man is something of a mega-fan and tells Guitar World that he first discovered the group during his time studying in Boston, and attended many of their earliest shows.
“I don't know if people know this, but I was a fan of Nuno Bettencourt years before Extreme signed a record deal,” reveals Morello.
“They were a club band in Boston when I was attending Harvard, and I would go see them religiously and was blown away by this 16-, 17-year-old guitar phenomenon who I would stand in front of with my jaw, like, on the floor.”
As such, when prompted to pick his favorite Nuno solo, Morello responds with a deep cut that is, well, so deep that it never actually appeared on an Extreme record.
“It is one that probably no-one reading this has heard,” says Morello. “Which was the Nuno Bettencourt a cappella guitar solo that he would play as a teenager, sort of his version of Eruption.
“Which was basically all of the kind of pyrotechnics that he still has today, but woven through a series of, like, cartoon themes and game-show themes and sort of clever, playful melodies, intermixed with his overwhelming technique.”
It’s perhaps not surprising giving the heavy amount of copyright material reportedly incorporated into the original shred parody that it didn’t make it onto an Extreme album, but the guitarist says he would take Flight of the Wounded Bumblebee as a close second.
“It is on my ‘Guitars Rule the World’ playlist,” reveals Morello. “That is a standalone sort of exercise in awesomeness that really sets him head and shoulders above the pack.”
We’d agree, but we’d also like to take a moment to acknowledge the fact Morello has a playlist called ‘Guitars Rule the World’, which you can listen to on Spotify.
Morello concludes his tribute by dubbing Bettencourt “the funkiest dude in the shredder family tree”, which from a man who memorably covered Renegades of Funk, is a true compliment.
As if to return the compliment, Extreme’s Gary Cherone and Bettencourt both recently appeared onstage with Morello to perform Audioslave’s Cochise – and Bettencourt offered his own effusive praise for Morello’s guitar playing, including what he finds underrated.
To read more insights from famous fans of Bettencourt’s, including Brian May, Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde and Steve Lukather – alongside an in-depth chat with the man himself – pick up the new issue of Guitar World from Magazines Direct.